31 Days to a Better Grocery Plan
Set up your pantry, grocery list, menu plan, and dinner recipes to simplify and streamline the process. Dinner happens every day. Be prepared.This month I’ll walk you through the development of a simple, easy, and effective strategy for feeding your family every day.
Now that you have your master shopping lists for where you will buy what, it’s time to think about just how often you need to shop to keep your pantry well supplied.
Choosing Your Frequency of Grocery Shopping
Many factors go into the decision about how often you should grocery shop. But it will simplify life and greatly decrease the mental energy and stress involved if it is a decision rather than a haphazard, “Ack, we need milk today!” affair.
There are three most common options: shopping weekly, every other week, and monthly. As always, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
1. Weekly Grocery Shopping
- Easy to create a routine around a weekly errand day.
- Don’t have to buy massive amounts of anything.
- More likely to be able to make due until the next planned trip if you run out of something.
- Able to take advantage of weekly specials.
- Trips might be shorter, but they are more frequent, so possibly more time is consumed shopping.
- Seeing more specials might provide more temptations for impulse buys of items not on the pantry list.
2. Twice Monthly Grocery Shopping
- Less time is used shopping without the hassle of purchasing a whole month’s supply at once.
- Perishables should be consumed within around 2 weeks of purchasing, so twice monthly is an efficient timeframe.
- Makes budgeting easier if you are paid biweekly.
- Doesn’t take advantage of the weekly specials.
- Can be harder to create a routine around shopping every other week.
3. Monthly Grocery Shopping
- Turns grocery shopping into a less frequent project instead of a frequent routine. Get it done and forget about it for a month.
- Less likely to buy things you don’t need or that aren’t on the list; less room for temptations to buy specials that don’t fit your budget overall or your food philosophy.
- A large monthly trip can be an exhausting all-day process when you include getting home and putting everything away.
- Requires knowledge of the quantities your family goes through and flexibility in substitutions and making due if you run out of certain things.
Many families are likely to choose some combination of these strategies. For example, I currently shop weekly at WinCo but only once or twice a month at Costco. Also, different seasons of life require adapting of the grocery routine. I used to go shopping monthly (except for picking up milk as needed), but with a family of 7, and hearty appetites all around, that’s just too much at once for me to manage these days, particularly since I want to bring the kids along. So try out the various strategies, but know that they are adaptable and flexible according to your own needs and situations. All attempts at being intentional, however, will help your peace of mind in the long haul.
Mystie Winckler began menu planning at 11 years old when her mom delegated one dinner a week to her. Marrying at 19, she’s had a lot of practice over the years. But between growing and homeschooling her family, meal planning often requires brain power that just isn’t there any more. Simplified Dinners is her solution to take the effort and thought out of healthy, frugal cooking. And now it is available for you, too!